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Play pens - your thoughts/experiences

(33 Posts)
springbelle Tue 20-Jul-10 21:09:46

My 10 month old dd is on the move constantly as 10 month olds generally are! Up until now I have been putting her in her walker when I needed to do something (ie. cook her lunch, grab a shower or make a cup of tea)and keep her close by. However she is too strong and quick for this now!
I was wondering what other Mums do to safely contain their little ones when they need to do something? I was thinking of getting a play pen from mothercare. What do people think of these? In your opinion, are they a good idea?

Haliborange Tue 20-Jul-10 21:10:42

Get a travel cot for times when you have to incarcerate her. Then you can use it at other times too.

thisisyesterday Tue 20-Jul-10 21:12:24

yep, i had one for exact same reason.
ds1 was crawling at about 6 months and walking at 8.5 and it was great for containing him while I made dinner or had a shower etc etc

we had the babydan one and it's now in use guarding the stairs as we don't have a bannister to fit a gate to

lukewarmcupoftea Tue 20-Jul-10 21:13:54

I've got one, has hardly been used for two dds (except v good as a tent!). Also takes up a lot of room. Just get some stairgates and move anything dangerous up a level (and then up another level when they start cruising, and again when a bit taller and walking etc etc!). Travel cot also a v good idea.

intravenouscoffee Tue 20-Jul-10 21:14:37

I had one for DD from about 10 months. Used it sparingly (for making lunch etc) and it was a life saver. I know someone who used hers again when DC2 was a baby - she would put his Moses basket in the playpen so that DC1 couldn't get to him when she left the room for a moment.

lifeas3plus1 Wed 21-Jul-10 08:30:50

I've never needed to use one actually as we live in a flat so I just close door to bathroom and main bedroom then he has free roam of the flat!

I don't see any harm in having one though if you need to keep her in one place for 10 mins or so whilst you have a shower. I like the baby dan one's as they are bigger and don't seem so restricted like travel cot type play pens. Plus you can also use it as a room divider if you feel it's better just to contain her to one room rather than the actually playpen itself!

missedith01 Wed 21-Jul-10 08:38:34

We've got a Lindam room divider which can be folded to make a playpen ... at the moment the baby isn't mobile (16w) but we use it to keep the cat away from the baby's stuff. And drying washing. But we use most things for drying washing, tbh. At some stage we'll switch to using it to keep the baby away from the cat's stuff! smile Seems sturdy ... they come up all the time on ebay if money is a factor.

mountainmonkey Wed 21-Jul-10 08:57:48

I have one for 10 month old ds and he'll sometimes play nicely in it but generally kicks up a fuss whenever he's in there (though he'll stop when I leave the room). Its good for short periods though, when you really need to go and do something-better that he's safe and having a moan than roaming around plaing with things that he really shouldn't be.

StormyWeather Wed 21-Jul-10 09:23:18

Only ever used one when I had my middle two who were very close in age, to allow me to get on with feeding/changing of the baby, while making sure her big sister wasn't able to get into any dangerous type trouble. For that it was a godsend. Agree with others though that a travel cot would cover two things at the same time. As you're only using it for short periods of time I don't think you need to go to the expense or bother of getting a full size playpen.

Absolutely hate (as my dil did, and it made me see red!) seeing babies stuck in them for hours on end.

LarkinSky Wed 21-Jul-10 13:23:25

I had the babydan playpen from when dd was 4 months - have just packed it away now she is 18 months.

It's been worth every penny - dd loved it as her own den, I often draped a sheet over the top to make it into a little house. Dd had all of her toys in it, and although I only shut her in when I had to pop out of the room (our house is all open plan and we have a large dog) - ie to the basement/garden/bathroom etc - she voluntarily played in it, opening and closing the little gate herself, all day long.

It was also handy to throw all of dd's toys and ride-ons into at the end of the day.

The babydan model is very versatile, easy to build and use and comes with a thick mat which I flung in the washing machine every week. I bought it from Baby with free postage.

In recent weeks our dog took to sleeping in there though, and it was becoming his second dog basket, so I packed it away. We will get it out again in the winter to use half of it as a fire guard, and it can also be used as a room divider too.

mousymouse Wed 21-Jul-10 13:29:21

had babydan for ds but never really used it. got it out for dd, but decided that it takes up too much space for not beeing used... if I need to get on with something I give her a tupperware potatoe stomper and a bowl. keeps her happy for ages right next to me where she likes to be best. for the kids bedroom we have a stairgate in the door so that ds can play with playmobil without beeing disturbed.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 21-Jul-10 14:48:54

You asked for thoughts ... so here goes!

I just find them very depressing and I am sure my DD would have gone bonkers if i had put her in one.

I tended to put her on the sofa if I really needed her out of the way (eg while I cleared up all the food she had thrown on the floor! We have an open plan living/kitchen - she couldn't climb off the sofa so effectively it was a playpen, but she didnt realise it, so was always happy to bounce around on the sofa watching me for ages, thinking she was exploring and being v independent when actually it was all part of mummy's cunning plan! I am sure if she had been in play pen she would have whined incessantly.

Just wondered - do you really need to contain her while you cook - can't she just crawl around on the floor.

I just think they have a strong desire to explore and if you put her in a pen she will just whine all the time and you will spend all your time going to her. Better to let her crawl around?

Ineed2 Wed 21-Jul-10 15:50:47

I used a playpen for all three of mine, actually they loved it I made it as interesting as possible with mirrors and dangly toys when they were really little. I started putting youngest in it when she was about 4 months so I could cook the tea etc and she was safe from the others. Eldest was v.v.v.clumsy [maybe dyspraxic] so would have fallen over or trod on her if I had left her on the floor. Used it for middle one for the same reason but she started trying to climb out from about 15 months so used it to split the room up instead.
If you want to use one go for it at least youcan get a shower knowing that they are safe.

LarkinSky Thu 22-Jul-10 08:48:13

I think people have very different ideas of playpen use!
In my mind they are for convenience and safety, not to be used for longer than 15 minutes at very most.

But most of all for dog owners - especially when, like me, you can't put the dog in one room and the child in another while your back is briefly turned.

However as Ineed2 described, our playpen became a much enjoyed playden full of toys hanging off the rails and used for imaginative play all day long while the door was open, with dd going in and out, shutting her dollies in, letting them out etc etc etc.

I doubt anyone really uses playpens as an alternative to giving their dc access to a whole room or house do they?

Tee2072 Thu 22-Jul-10 09:01:56

I have playpen for my 13 month old. He loves it in there as he knows he can touch everything in it, that its all his. Our flat is a danger zone for babies, which I am working on, but with a City Centre flat and almost no storage space its a real challenge.

He's in there right now, in fact, while I have a nice hot cup of coffee.

Whomever suggest the baby crawl around while she cooks dinner? Bad bad idea. A friend of mine's son burned his hand very badly on the oven door once when she did that. Kitchens are not safe places for babies you 'keeping an eye on' to be.

ReasonableDoubt Thu 22-Jul-10 09:05:36

I used a playpen for my first child. He was an early walker and I found it a real challenge keeping him safe at all times. He loved it and was quite happy playing in it for up to an hour at a time. I don't really see any difference to him sitting in it or sitting on the floor. He got plenty of time during the day to roam around the garden, run about the house and generally exercise and explore, so I never for a moment felt guilty. it was a bloody Godsend when it came to cooking dinner.

I didn't use one with my second chikd, mainly because a) she was a late walker and b) we childproofed the house to a much larger extent.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 22-Jul-10 10:09:08


That was me that suggested the OP's DD crawl round the kitchen while she cooks etc.

I don't think this is a "bad bad idea"; my DD (13 months) loves crawling around while I make supper and I think giving her the independence is making her a better judge of risk. The bottom half of the aga, which is the only part she can reach, is never warm enough to scald.

I also now let her crawl upstairs on her own, and come down again on her bottom! If I didn't let her do it, she wouldn't have leart how to do it and developed the competence to do it well (and I would still be feeling worried about whether she was going to fall or not). Ditto in the kitchen - how can they learn not to touch the oven if they are never exposed to the danger?



Bumpsadaisie Thu 22-Jul-10 10:09:42

Sorry for that random "13" there ... !

thedudesmummy Thu 22-Jul-10 11:12:43

We use a travel cot to put our 13 month DS in for a few minutes when we need to do something else like go to the loo or make food etc, he has lots of toys and books in there and is fine for a little while. Lately we have also been using one in the garden so we can barbecue and all sit outside in the lovely summer evenings we have had lately, and he is nice and safe. We give him bits of finger food in there and he makes a right old mess and enjoys himself!

thedudesmummy Thu 22-Jul-10 11:12:43

We use a travel cot to put our 13 month DS in for a few minutes when we need to do something else like go to the loo or make food etc, he has lots of toys and books in there and is fine for a little while. Lately we have also been using one in the garden so we can barbecue and all sit outside in the lovely summer evenings we have had lately, and he is nice and safe. We give him bits of finger food in there and he makes a right old mess and enjoys himself!

Tee2072 Thu 22-Jul-10 11:17:42

Bumps I think there is a big difference between letting them explore, where its safe and with supervision and letting them crawl around in the kitchen by themselves. Personally, I am constantly dropping things, like knives, when I cook.

And not everyone has an Aga that is that isn't warm enough to scald. Most of us, I am pretty sure, have regular ovens that get hot very quickly for little hands.

I am not saying wrap them in cotton wool or never let them explore on their own, I'm saying there are much safer places to do it than in the kitchen while mummy is cooking!

We don't have stairs, so I've not worried about that yet!

Ladyem Thu 22-Jul-10 11:33:22

I have a babyden play pen that I've used for DD and now DS and it is the best piece of baby equipment I have bought! You can have it as a pen, or open it out to section off parts of the room, to give them more room to explore. Also I am thinking of getting this to extend it's life even further as DD would be straight back in like a shot with this addition!! (Also would be good for outdoors as it would provide shade for them.)

IMO it has been a useful piece of safety equipment for times when I can't be watching over them 100%, like cooking, cleaning etc. It has also helped DS who seemed overwhelmed in a large room feel more secure and also stops DD from taking all of his toys away!! wink

lukewarmcupoftea Thu 22-Jul-10 11:34:06

You can get safety covers for ovens. If it's really that hot then you probably need one, unless you're going to keep them in a playpen until they're teenagers.

lukewarmcupoftea Thu 22-Jul-10 11:39:44

I think what I mean is that a playpen is no substitute for making your house/flat as safe as is reasonable (not OTT safe, am all for them learning not to poke fingers in plug sockets rather than getting those covers etc, although I realise some babies are more persistant than others!). By all means use it as an addition to help you, but not as a substitute for adequate safety measures. I see nothing wrong with letting babies crawl round whilst you're cooking at all. It does make the cooking take twice as long though!

Bumpsadaisie Thu 22-Jul-10 11:46:54


Let's agree to differ on "crawling while cooking" - a lot depends on the kitchen and the oven etc etc.

Personally, I feel my DD is in no danger while I cook - but then we have a very large combined living room/kitchen area so she is never under my feet (or not for long anyway).

In our old house though (small Victorian terrace) we had a galley kitchen with small seating area at one end and that would have been totally different as she would literally have been under my feet the whole time.

I have only just thought it, but boy am I glad we moved before she was at the crawling stage!

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